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Bromley Council 'missed opportunity' to show off borough during Olympics
Bromley Council rejected Biggin Hill Airport's second request to extend opening hours for the Olympic Games
Executive councillors unanimously rejected the airport’s revised proposals in front of a busy public gallery last night.
This followed a consultation which found 60 per cent of respondents against the plan, down from 95 per cent last time around.
The council rejected the airport's first application in March.
Concerns that the proposals could set a precedent for future applications were quashed following advice from the Queen’s Counsel.
Airport managing director Jenny Munro said the decision was “a missed opportunity” to showcase the airport and borough to international visitors.
She said: “I am extremely disappointed because we listened carefully to the feedback from the last consultation and the revisions reflected accession to virtually all of it, including no precedents.
"I am still working hard to counter the scaremongering and misinformation which continues to be promulgated and judging by the fact that the number of objections to this consultation fell by 50 per cent, I know we are making progress in allaying these fears.
"I will welcome the day, when the council, ourselves, and our residents are fully aligned behind a sustainable business which represents a good news story in these days of economic and social challenges.”
'Major international event'
Biggin Hill councillor Julian Benington, who lives under the airport flightpath, opposed the first application but spoke in support of the second bid at the meeting.
He said: “This particular application has been reduced. It’s for a major international event and will reflect well on Biggin Hill Airport and the borough.”
Backing the bid, Councillor Peter Foulkes, who spoke on behalf of Bromley's Labour group, said: "We have to consider the fact there are jobs here even though they may be temporary.
"We need to show our support during these difficult economic times."
Lack of evidence
Orpington MP Jo Johnson, who opposed the proposals, told News Shopper: “The voices of residents have been listened to.
"Biggin Hill has masses of scope within the existing lease to take full advantage of the commercial opportunities that the Olympics represent.
"I have not seen the evidence that suggests additional flights are needed."
Bromley Friends of the Earth secretary Ray Watson said: “We hope that the airport will now mend its fences with the residents and make sure it understands their concerns rather than ignoring them.
“The airport does not get round to talking to anyone in the borough except its own local residents association yet there are tens of thousands under the flightpath and they're the ones that should be consulted.”
Council leader Councillor Stephen Carr said: "We just do not believe that the benefits being spoken about were strong enough when compared to the adverse impact of additional flights.
"There are already significant business opportunities for the airport as the Olympics approaches and the airport can take advantage of these within the context of the existing lease.”